King George Whiting, Sillaginodes punctatus (Cuvier 1829)


Other Names: Australian Whiting, Black Whiting, KG, KGW, Pussies, South Australian Whiting, Spotted Sillago, Spotted Whiting

A King George Whiting, Sillaginodes punctatus, in Port Phillip, Victoria, February 2008. Source: Julian K. Finn / Museum Victoria. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

Summary:
A pale golden-brown to greenish whiting becoming silvery-white below, with small rusty-brown spots and wavy lines along the sides. The King George Whiting is the largest whiting, and is a highly prized table fish.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Sillaginodes punctatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 06 Dec 2020, http://136.154.202.208/home/species/4242

King George Whiting, Sillaginodes punctatus (Cuvier 1829)

More Info


Distribution

Endemic to the southern half of Australia from Sydney (New South Wales) to north of Rottnest Island, and perhaps to Jurien Bay (Western Australia), including Tasmania.
Inhabits bays, estuaries and coastal areas with seagrass, macroalgae or sand in depths to 200 m. While juveniles are abundant in seagrass beds, adults prefer deeper channels, gutters and offshore areas. At night, they may also feed in the shallows on the high tide.

Features

Dorsal fin  XII-XIII +  I, 25-27; Anal fin II, 21-24; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 15-16; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales 129-147.
Body long, slender, covered in very small scales; snout long, pointed; dorsal fin in two barely separated parts; pectoral and pelvic fins small. 

Size

Maximum length 72 cm, commonly to 35 cm TL; max weight almost 5 kg. King George Whiting live to about 15 years.

Feeding

Whitings have almost conical snouts, a small terminal mouth and somewhat protrusible jaws. They feed by sucking up small invertebrates such as crustaceans, polychaete worms, molluscs and peanut worms from the substrate.

Biology

The sexes are separate and adults spawn in offshore waters during the late autumn and winter. King George Whiting have a long pelagic larval phase of 80-170 days. The larvae grow to 15-20 cm before settling out in shallow macrophyte algal beds in bays and estuaries. 

Fisheries

King George Whiting are an important and highly regarded commercial and recreational species. A commercial fishery in South Australia occurs from Gulf St Vincent to Ceduna. In Victoria, the species is commercially fished in Port Phillip Bay and Corner Inlet. King George Whiting are also taken in southwest Western Australia. 

The King George Whiting is the most popular recreational fish in South Australia, and rivals snapper for popularity in Victoria. Size limits, bag and boat limits regulate these recreational fisheries in South Australia and Victoria.

Conservation


Similar Species


Etymology

The specific name punctatus is from the Latin punctum (= spot, small hole), presumably in reference to the numerous brownish spots on the body

Species Citation

Sillago punctata Cuvier, 1829, Hist. Nat. Poiss.: 413. Type locality: King George Sound, Western Australia (as Port King George).

Author

Bray, D.J. 2020

Resources

Atlas of Living Australia

King George Whiting, Sillaginodes punctatus (Cuvier 1829)

References


Bruce, B.D. 1995. Larval development of King George whiting, Sillaginodes punctata, school whiting, Sillago bassensis, and yellow fin whiting, Sillago schomburgkii (Percoidei: Sillaginidae), from South Australian waters. Fishery Bulletin 93: 27-43.

Burchmore, J.J., Pollard, D.A., Middleton, M.J., Bell, J.D. & Pease, B.C. 1988. Biology of four species of whiting (Pisces: Sillaginidae) in Botany Bay, New South Wales. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 39(6): 709-727.

Coleman, N. & Mobley, M. 1984. Diets of Commercially Exploited Fish from Bass Strait and Adjacent Victorian Waters, South-eastern Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 35(5): 549–560.

Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1829. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 3 500 pp. pls 41-71. See ref at BHL

Fowler, A.J. & Short, D.A. 1996. Temporal variation in the early life-history characteristics of the King George whiting (Silllaginodes punctata) from analysis of otolith microstructure. Marine and Freshwater Research 47: 809-818.

Gill, T.N. 1862. Synopsis of the sillaginoids. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 13: 501-505

Gilmour, A.J. 1969. The ecology of King George whiting Sillaginodes punctatus (Cuvier and Valenciennes) in Westernport Bay, Victoria. Ph.D. thesis, Monash University, Australia.

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Epigonidae, Howellidae and Sillaginidae. pp. 561-569 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.

Hindell J.S., Jenkins G.P. & Keough M.J. 2002. Variability in the numbers of post-settlement King George whiting (Sillaginidae: Sillaginodes punctata, Cuvier) in relation to predation, habitat complexity and artificial cage structure. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 268: 13-31.

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island, pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds). The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth: Aqua Research & Monitoring Services.

Hyndes, G.A., Platell, M.E. & Potter, I.C. 1997. Relationships between diet and body size, mouth morphology, habitat and movements of six sillaginid species in coastal waters: implications for resource partitioning. Marine Biology 128(4): 585–598.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs

Hutchinson, N., Jenkins, G.P., Brown, A. et al. 2014. Variation with depth in temperate seagrass-associated fish assemblages in southern Victoria, Australia. Estuaries and Coasts 37: 801–814. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-013-9742-9

Jenkins, G.P. 2005. The influence of climate on the fishery recruitment of a temperate, seagrass associated fish, the King George whiting, Sillaginodes punctata. Marine Ecology Progress Series 288: 263-271.

Jenkins, G.P. & Black, K.P. 1994. Temporal variability in settlement of a coastal fish, the King George whiting, Sillaginodes punctata, is determined by low-frequency hydrodynamics. Limnol Oceanogr 39: 1744-1754.

Jenkins, G.P., Black, K.P. & Hamer, P.A. 2000. Determination of spawning areas and larval advection pathways for King George whiting in southeastern Australia using otolith microstructure and hydrodynamic modelling. I. Victoria. Marine Ecology Progress Series 199: 231-242.

Jenkins, G.P., Black, K.P., Wheatley, M.J. & Hatton, D.N. 1997. Temporal and spatial variability in recruitment of a temperate, seagrass-associated fish is largely determined by physical processes in the pre- and post-settlement phases. Marine Ecology Progress Series 148: 23-35.

Jenkins, G.P. & May, H.M.A. 1994. Variation in settlement and larval duration of King George whiting, Sillaginodes punctata (Sillaginidae), in Swan Bay, Victoria, Australia. Bulletin of Marine Science 54: 281-296.

Jenkins, G.P. & Welsford, D.C. 2002. The swimming abilities of recently settled post-larvae of Sillaginodes punctata. Journal of Fish Biology 60(4): 1043–1050.

Jenkins, G.P., Welsford, D.C., Keough, M.J. & Hamer, P.A. 1998. Diurnal and tidal vertical migration of  pre-settlement King George whiting Sillaginodes punctata in relation to feeding and vertical distribution of  prey in a temperate bay. Marine Ecology Progress Series 170: 239-248.

Jenkins, G.P., Wheatley, M.J. & Poore, A.G.B. 1996. Spatial variation in recruitment, growth and feeding of post-settlement king George whiting, Sillaginodes punctata,  associated with seagrass beds of  Port Phillip Bay, Australia. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 53: 96-105.

Kaga, K. 2013. Phylogenetic systematics of the family Sillaginidae (Percomorpha: order Perciformes). Zootaxa 3642(1): 1-105.

Kailola, P.J., Williams, M.J., Stewart, P.C., Reichelt, R.E., McNee, A. & Grieve, C. 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources. Canberra : Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 422 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs.

Macleay, W.J. 1878. Descriptions of some new fishes from Port Jackson and King George's Sound. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 3(1): 33-37 pls 2-5 (described as Isosillago maculata) See ref at BHL

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp.

McGarvey, R. & Fowler, A.J. 2002. Seasonal growth of King George whiting (Sillaginodes punctata) estimated from length-at-age samples of the legal size harvest. Fishery Bulletin 100(3): 545–558.

McKay, R.J. 1985. A revision of the fishes of the family Sillaginidae. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 22(1): 1-73 figs 1-18.

McKay, R.J. 1992. FAO Species Catalog. Sillaginid fishes of the world (Family Sillaginidae) an annotated and illustrated catalogue of the Sillago, smelt of the Indo-Pacific whiting species. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125 Vol. 14. 1-87 pp.

Moran, S.M., Jenkins, G.P., Keough, M.J. & Hindell, J.S. 2003. The role of physical disturbance in structuring fish assemblages in seagrass beds in Port Phillip Bay, Australia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 251:127-139,  https://doi.org/10.3354/meps251127

Prokop, F. 2002. Australian Fish Guide. Croydon South, Victoria : Australian Fishing Network 256 pp.

Robertson, A.I. 1977. Ecology of juvenile King George whiting Sillaginodes punctatus (Cuvier and Valenciennes) (Pisces: Percifomes) in Western Port. Victoria. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 28: 35-43.

Roughley, T.C. 1957. Fish and Fisheries of Australia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 341 pp. (49, as Sillago punctatus)

Scott, T.D. 1954. The life history of the spotted whiting, Sillaginodes punctatus (Cuvier and Valenciennes) in South Australia. M.Sc. thesis, University of Adelaide, Australia.

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Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37330001

Depth:0-200 m

Fishing:Popular sports & table fish

Habitat:Seagrass, sandy areas

Max Size:72cm TL; commonly 35cm

Native:Endemic

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CAAB distribution map